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Qualcomm will pay $975 million in anti-monopoly fines to China

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It looks like Qualcomm has more troubles than just possibly losing Samsung as a customer: the firm is paying out nearly $975 million (over 6 billion Chinese yuan) in fines to the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission as a result of the NRDC's anti-monopoly investigation. Furthermore, Qualcomm has agreed to not contest China's legal decisions and has to give current OEM customers the chance to renegotiate their contracts in light of new, mandated price adjustments. Oh, as well as a few more concessions...

The commission has mandated that:

  • Qualcomm will offer licenses to its current 3G and 4G essential Chinese patents separately from licenses to its other patents and it will provide patent lists during the negotiation process.
  • For licenses of Qualcomm's 3G and 4G essential Chinese patents for branded devices sold for use in China, Qualcomm will charge royalties of 5% for 3G devices (including multimode 3G/4G devices) and 3.5% for 4G devices (including 3-mode LTE-TDD devices) that do not implement CDMA or WCDMA, in each case using a royalty base of 65% of the net selling price of the device.
  • Qualcomm will give its existing licensees an opportunity to elect to take the new terms for sales of branded devices for use in China as of January 1, 2015.
  • Qualcomm will not condition the sale of baseband chips on the chip customer signing a license agreement with terms that the NDRC found to be unreasonable or on the chip customer not challenging unreasonable terms in its license agreement.
All that to say, Qualcomm can now fully (and legally) operate in China, and the licensing costs of its chips -- like the SnapDragon 810 -- coming down will likely put them in even more devices. The company's also promised to lend a hand to China's network operators and help establish the country's 4G infrastructure. That's not all, either. To further its mea culpa, Qualcomm, with the help of five other "innovative" companies is also creating a China-specific, $150 million fund to advance mobile and processor research and development. Another aspect of the apology is working with Chinese OEMs, presumably like Oppo and OnePlus, to boost them to the level of LG and Samsung. Maybe it won't be too long before we see the Find 7 or OnePlus One in more hands worldwide, then.

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